5 Reasons Relationships Fail

Some time ago, a group invited me to speak to them on “Why relationships fail” I know you may have also wondered the same thing just like I have. Why do Relationships/marriages fail? I shared with the group that some reasons relationships fail is not understanding or being able to communicate effectively with your partner/spouse can be detrimental in your relationship (Effective communication) just like The signs Dr. Gottman-says to watch for are:

5 Reasons Relationships Fail

A Harsh Start-up, Criticism, Contempt, and defensiveness

I can sum these up as ways we can have effective communication to achieve a healthy relationship. 

According to Dr. Gottman, When one begins a discussion with a harsh start, such as acting accusatory, cynical or disrespectful, the conversation is primarily destined to fail. Alternatively, when one initiates a conversation using a relaxed start, the discussion will mainly end on the same positive note.


Relationships Fail because of Criticism. Criticism is when we find fault or judge harshly. Dr. Gottman explained that there is nothing wrong with complaining about your partner/spouse; however, the way you go about the complaint can be damaging. He explained that criticism aims to attack your spouse/partner’s personality or character, which can go a long way of destroying them without your knowledge. It can also point out that they are wrong, and you are right.


Contempt is the feeling that a person or something is beneath consideration, worthless, or deserving scorn. Partners’ comments can include insults, name-calling, hostile sarcasm or ridicule, rolling of eyes, disrespect, and aggressive body language. Contempt can cause conflict to increase and escalate. It’s challenging to resolve a problem when the conversation communicates that you are disgusted by the person you speak to. In this case, it can be your partner/spouse.


Defensiveness is the behavior intended to defend or protect. Dr. Gottman defined defensiveness as “self-protection in the form of righteous indignation or innocent victimhood in an attempt to ward off a perceived attack.” There is an instinct to defend ourselves and not play the victim in our relationships. When we protect ourselves, we are not always open to change and correction. It could also prevent us from accessing the vulnerability that comes with marriage. The world is in a mess we are today because of the blame game. No one wants to take responsibility for their actions. It is typical to be defensive when you are criticized; however, that does not help solve communication issues.


Relationships fail because of Stonewalling. Stonewalling occurs when we refuse to communicate or express our emotions to our partner or spouse. People who stonewall may see this as a way to avoid conflicts and not discuss issues at hand. While in so many cases, it is the door to invite disputes. It is never a healthy way to resolve the problems in relationships. I thought refusing to speak to my husband (silent treatment) was a good way to show that his actions have hurt me.


I quickly found out (thank God) that my husband is no mind reader; neither am I, and the only way he can know if he has offended me is that I communicate with him. It was a journey and a journey to communicate effectively when I am angry/offended or hurt by my husband’s actions.

When you learn to communicate better with our spouse/partner, you will set yourself for victory in overcoming the challenges and hurdles in relationships.

What God is always looking for is the willingness to become better than you were. God is still searching for the heart, and when he finds the soul, who will say. “Lord, use me,” Lord, use me to be a blessing to my family. Lord, use me to be an answer to prayers in my family. I promise you these kinds of prayers God does not despise. He always comes through. He always does. Trust Him to help you.

Leave a Reply